March 8, 2022 Labor and Public Employees Committee, SB 315
Public Hearing Testimony of
Danté Bartolomeo, Commissioner
Department of Labor
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 8, 2022
Good morning Representative Porter, Senator Kushner, Representative Aurora, Senator Sampson and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding Senate Bill# 315: AN ACT CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR ADJUNCT HIGHER EDUCATION FACULTY. My name is Danté Bartolomeo and I am the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor.
The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) understands that the intent of SB 315 is to address concerns regarding unemployment benefits for adjunct faculty. In an effort to be helpful, CTDOL had many discussions with the proponents of the bill when it was introduced during the 2021 Legislative Session. CTDOL staff also contacted the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) for their opinion on the language of the 2021 proposal – which mirrors SB 315. USDOL indicated that the below language in section 1, subsection (3) of SB 315 is problematic given that it is not in conformity with federal law.
Such information may be considered by the administrator, but shall not, on its own, demonstrate conclusive evidence regarding reasonable assurance in any case. The administrator shall consider the failure of any institution to submit such information as establishing a rebuttable presumption of the lack of reasonable assurance to an individual of performing the services described in subparagraph (A) in subdivision (1) of this subsection during the second academic year or term or during the period following a customary vacation period or holiday recess.
As USDOL noted:
Only the state UC agency can determine if one has reasonable assurance…[the] list cannot be determinative, and the state still must make individual determinations on the existence or non-existence of reasonable assurance… the failure of an educational institution to submit the list as outlined in Section 3 cannot establish a rebuttable presumption of the lack of reasonable assurance.
In addition, as to the list itself, each claim is determined on a case-by-case basis, and individual information is only required for those who have filed for unemployment benefits. Moreover, the CTDOL’s new system does not have the capacity to process a list, nor would the list constitute employer participation as required by the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act. Therefore, CTDOL must oppose this bill.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony. CTDOL would be happy to discuss SB 315 with you further as you deliberate this matter further.
Connecticut Department of Labor • www.ct.gov/dol
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer